India's growth rate is expected to accelerate to 8 per cent in the current financial year and the economy will surpass USD 3 trillion mark in less than five years, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said today.
"I will be greatly disappointed if we do not hit the 8 per cent mark in 2015-16. I expect the economy to hit USD 3 trillion within five years or less," he told PTI in an interview.
Indian economy, which is little more than USD 2 trillion, recorded a growth rate of 7.3 per cent in 2014-15. India is presently the third largest economy in Asia after China and Japan.
On the back of ongoing reforms and stress on manufacturing sector as part of the 'Make in India' drive, the NITI Aayog chief said that India can look for much bigger share in global exports, the global economic woes notwithstanding.
"...The world economy is large and our share in the world exports is still below 2 per cent. So we have a huge scope for growth even in a sluggish world economy. As long as we continue on the reforms path and ensure that the rupee does not become unduly overvalued, we will be well positioned to chip away some of the 12 per cent share that China currently enjoys in the world merchandise exports.
"Wages in China have already risen enough that many manufacturers there are looking for new destinations with lower wages and India is well placed to be that destination," Panagariya said.
On global developments impacting India, he said the "fragility of the global economy itself is greatly overstated".
Although Europe has been facing some problems for some years now, the positive developments are more significant, Panagariya said.
"The US economy grew a healthy 2.4 per cent in 2014, which has led to speculation that the country might now begin raising the interest rate.
"China, the second largest economy now, has been growing above 7 per cent as well. Add to this India's growth of 7.3 per cent in 2014-15," he said.
On role of NITI Aayog in pushing development agenda of the nation, Panagariya said, "It has a role to play in almost all dimensions. It must help drive the reform agenda at both the central and state levels while also helping formulate policies.
"It must help monitor programmes and projects in the states, especially those sponsored by the central government. It must serve as a think tank for both the Centre and the states. It must also assist states in seeking solutions to the problems they face by connecting them to the experts in the relevant areas."
He further said the NITI Aayog's two taskforces -- on poverty elimination and modernisation of agriculture -- are working in cooperation with parallel taskforces in the states.
Besides, the three sub-groups of Chief Ministers at work on the Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Swachch Bharat Mission and Skill Development are working under the auspices of the NITI Aayog, he said.
"So we have been busy," he said, adding, "at present, Aayog is undertaking the Mid-term Review of the 12th Five Year Plan, working on regulation in infrastructure, National Energy Policy and Information Technology Policy.
"We are working towards institutionalising entrepreneurship and innovation systems in the country under the Self Employment Talent Utilisation (SETU) scheme and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). Work is under way on a survey of enterprises to assess states on the ease of doing business. We have also begun preliminary work on a study of electronics industry in the context of Make in India."